The Quotable


May you have:
A world of wishes at your command.
God and his angels close to hand.
Friends and family their love impart,
and Irish blessings in your heart!

~~Irish Blessing~~

Monday, December 31, 2007

Vade in Pace!

The Eye of God

I took the picture as we flew out of Dublin two years ago to return to England where we visited with our daughter Laura and her family while they were in residence there for a year. This picture is a constant reminder to me of the awesomeness of our God and the peace and serenity that is His to offer us. It is with this in mind that I offer this in reflection as an extension of all the wonderful offerings I have read this day regarding Peace and the New Year granted us by our Maker.

~*~*~*~

The Romans bid each other farewell with Vade in pace!--"Go in peace!"

Since the renewal of the Liturgy we Catholics have grown accustomed to this farewell greeting, too. It is interesting to note that Our Lord's disciples would have been familiar with the Romans' use of this leave-taking message. It also clarifies Our Lord's farewell to them, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you" (John 14:27). His peace is not the same as the everyday nicety the Romans exchanged routinely.

The few thoughts [here] are meant to remind us through reading and reflection that the Lord's peace is heritage for every circumstance, no matter the happening. It's His gift along with--inseparable from--His cross. Dante caught it all: In voluntate eius pax nostra, "in His will is our Peace."

[This reflection] also warn[s] us that the theme song in hell may easily be: "I Did It My Way." The world sets before us one avenue of peace, the Lord another.

While life here is still ours, may we seek after His peace and pursue it. And then we'll know its fullness eternally.

As the Lord gives, not as the world, Vade in Pache!+
from Latin Sayings for Spiritual Growth
By Archabbot Lambert Reilly, O.S.B.


~*~*~*~


And so with the Old Year soon to be replaced by the New Year, I say, with much sincerity to all, "May His Peace be with you." And in gratitude for all who have touched my life so tenderly this year I say, "Thanks be to GOD!"


Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Holy Family


"Then he went down with them and came to
Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother
treasured all these things in her heart."
~Luke 2:51~

~*~
A few days after Christmas, we celebrate Joseph, Mary, and Jesus: the holy family. I would like my family to be holy, too, but I don't know. My family is so far from ideal; we are scattered, we are blended, and we are all such individuals.

But holiness is there: in mutual love, in moments of grace, in tenacious commitment, and in daily forgiveness.

I think that's holiness. Or at least it's a start.

~*~

Jesus, I pray for my family. May we grow in holiness
and mutual service, in imitation of your holy family.

from A Catholic Woman's Book of Days
By Amy Welborn
~*~

Thanks be to God!

It's Sunday!!!


Whew!! With all the holiday festivities, travel and being off work, I've been at a loss as to what day of the week it really is...I have had more false Sundays in the last week (days that feel like Sunday) that it's a relief to have a REAL one. Does that sound strange?

At any rate I wanted to share this with all who have not visited Esther's domain A Catholic Mom in Hawaii, http://hicatholicmom.blogspot.com/. It is the Epiphany Blessing. It has a wonderful history and even more important it is a wonderful tradition. She also has posted a lovely prayer to the Holy Family.
~*~*~*~*~
Thanks be to God!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Journey

This journey begins December 22, as this is the "off year" for the family gathering. So those who live close came for an early celebration. Aunt Mimi (Marianne), Wes, Annie and the Girls traveled from INDY to join Laura, Roy, Kellie and Neil for the traditional clam chowder and gift sharing. Neil asked that this year after the blessing of the gifts that we each mention what makes us thankful at Christmas. The treasure came that evening from four year old Ainsley, through Mama because she was too shy to tell us, who said she was thankful because, should she die, she would see Jesus in heaven. (It still brings tears to my eyes!). The wisdom of the "wee ones." And so it was that we began the revelry of the evening. There was much fun and surprises!!!


Early Christmas Eve we began our journey to Georgia to visit with Jimmy. Mass at St. Bridget's was glorious with the music and the beautiful colors of Christmas. I reflected at the time that Scott Hahn was right when he said that Mass is Heaven on earth! Christmas Day was quiet and restful except for the occasional trek out in the rain with Duchess, our "puppy".

On the feast of St. Stephen we were joined by David, Kelly and the boys from Charlotte. The gift of Christmas is being with family and MY gift was complete. The Keller treasury is full for another year with memories worth far more that gold and longer lasting than any gift that may soon become obsolete.

The Treasures

Ainsley, Kelly, Neil and Lindsey eating the Chowder

The annual "under the tree" picture

Group hug with Aunt Mimi and Wally-dog somewhere in the middle

Cameron and Jonathan at Uncle Jimmy's

What's that Andrew?

Ben started reading as soon as they were unwrapped.

Breakfast at Waffle House before we left for home.

Duchess, guiding the way home.
~~~~~~~

We had such a wonderful time. And just a note in passing...I finally surprised Ron with his gift after 40 years!!!!! There is a reason to persevere!

Thanks be to God!!!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Memory


As the Christmas festivities begin here at the Keller's today with the arrival of the INDY contingent, Wes, Annie and the Girls and Aunt Mimi (Marianne) I am reminded of the times I spent with the Folks (Aunt Mary, Aunt Rose, Aunt Ida and Pat). The house on Milwaukee Street was always a warm and cozy place to be any time, but especially at Christmas. The tree was decorated with such care. The nativity was placed with much reverence.

And most of all there was music and singing. We'd all gather around the piano in the living room, Pat would play and we would sing carols. My favorite secular tune of all has been for some time, Christmas in Killarney. It's a light and lively tune that always reminds of the grand times we had as family there. And so every year, though tattered and warn it comes out again and is sung again, if by no one but me.

Memories are wonderful treasures we carry with us and often share with others. Today is the day I begin to gather some new treasures. We will celebrate the Birth of our Lord early here so that Ron and I can travel to visit the rest of the Clan in Georgia on Christmas Eve.

Much to my delight I will again, this year. be able to visit with all my children and grandchildren. That is a gift greater than any under the tree. So I will be away for a few days...

This is my heartfelt wish for everyone. That God bless you with the tender love only a father can give, the support and comfort of our brother, Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate, and the courage of the Holy Spirit to accept the challenges that will visit us as we journey to our eternal celebration. God Bless you all as I wish you all a Merry, Joyous Christmas!


*******
Reflection: "What good is it if Mary gave birth to the Son of God centuries ago, if I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and culture?"

*******
Thanks be to GOD!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Twelve Days of Christmas

A Gift sent to me by Marianne, my daughter, reminds me of the days when I was teaching religious education. It was one of those challenges you give the kids to see if they are really interested in learning about our Church history and Christmas is a perfect time to use this "challenge". And with each challenge came a reward. Whether this may be a true story or only a legend makes no difference, it is a beautiful way to catechise.






*There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled many people. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas? Well, consider this...


*From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

*The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.


*Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.


*Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.


*The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.


*The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.


*The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.


*Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.


*The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.


*Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.


*The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

*The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

*The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

~~~~~~~

Now when you hear or sing this Christmas Carol you may find yourself reminded of the principles upon which the Church was founded as well as the beautiful words used to instruct us in the Faith.

~^~^~^~^~

Thanks be to God.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Proclamation from a Saint...


Guardian Angel


"Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you."--St. Francis de Sales

(Doctor of the Church and known as the "gentleman saint")


~~~~~~~

For His gifts and treasures, thanks be to God.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The father of John the Baptist...

From The Little Blue Book:

The angel Gabriel said to Zechariah, "Do not be
afraid, because your prayer has been heard. Your
wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall
name him John. And you will have joy and gladness,
any many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be
great in the sight of the Lord. . .He will be filled
with the Holy spirit even from his mother's womb.
~Luke 1:5-25~


*Zechariah was one of approximately 18,000 Jewish priest in Palestine at the time of Jesus. They were divided into 24 groups of 750 each. Twice a year each group came to the Temple in Jerusalem to serve for a week. Their roles during this week of service were chose by lot. Some of them, in a given week, weren't chosen to do anything.

*Each morning, four lots were cast to decide who would carry out the four tasks at the altar. Then in the afternoon, a fifth lot was cast to determine who would enter the Holy Place to offer the evening incense. This extraordinary privilege usually came only once in a lifetime.

*In Luke's account, when the afternoon lot was cast, Zechariah was chosen to enter the Holy Place and offer the evening incense. It was there that the angel appeared to him to announce the birth of John.
~~~~~~~

*The angel tells Zechariah that his prayer has been heard. In the story leading up to this point, Luke hadn't told us what Zechariah was praying for. Now we know. He had been praying for Israel, of course, as a Jewish priest would do. But he and Elizabeth, unrealistic though it may e seemed because of their advanced years, had also been praying for a child.

*Three times in Luke we hear angels say, "do not be afraid"--to Zechariah here, to Mary at the Annunciation, and to the shepherds in the field. In Luke's Gospel, Jesus will also say those same words five time during his public life.

**Anything in particular you'd really like to pray for?
**Anything going on in your life that has you scared?
**Listen.
**God is saying to you: "Do not be afraid."

~*~*~*~

For the comfort and encouragement given, thanks be to God.



Whatever you do, do it ASAP!




Ever wonder about the abbreviation A.S.A.P.? Generally we think of it in terms of even more hurry and stress in our lives. Maybe if we think of this
abbreviation in a different manner, we will begin to find a new way to deal with those rough days along the way.

*************


There's work to do, deadlines to meet;

You've got no time to

spare,

But as you hurry and scurry-

ASAP - ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER



In the midst of family chaos,

"Quality time" is rare.

Do your best; let God do the rest-

ASAP - ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER.




It may seem like your worries

Are more than you can bear.

Slow down and take a breather-

ASAP - ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER




God knows how stressful life is;

He wants to ease our cares,

And He'll respond to all your needs

A.S.A.P. - ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER.

*******

Just had to save this message from Maggie...and this is the best place to do that!!! Wishing all a GOOD DAY!!!

~^~^~^~^~
And thanks be to God!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How long is Advent...

This is the title of an interesting section in The Little Blue Book distributed to us on the First Sunday of Advent at church. The Little Blue Book is based on the writings of Bishop Ken Untener who was inspired to create the Little Books for the people of his Diocese of Saginaw. Since his death in 2004 The Little Books have been a legacy carried on by Catherine Haven with the help of Sr. Nancy Ayotte, IHM. The book is full of wonderful reflection and instruction. This was yesterday's entry.

How long is Advent?

Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before December 25. It always has four Sundays, but the total number of days can vary. For example:
*If Christmas falls on Monday, then Advent last three weeks and a day.
*If Christmas falls on a Sunday, Advent lasts four full weeks

*******

Regardless of when Advent begins, every year the same Scripture reading are used for weekdays from December 17-24. The Gospels on those days describe the events leading up to the birth of Christ:

**December 17: The genealogy of Jesus (Matthew)
**December 18: The annunciation to Joseph (Matthew)
**December 19: The annunciation to Zechariah (Luke)
**December 20: The annunciation of Mary (Luke)
**December 21: Mary's visit to Elizabeth (Luke)
**December 22: Mary's "Magnificat" (Luke
**December 23: The birth of John the Baptist (Luke)
**December 24: The "Benedictus" of Zechariah (Luke)

~~~~~~

It's a map for the journey to Bethlehem. Isn't it great to have a "AAA Trip tick" set forth by the church for this journey? Isn't it funny that I had to have this itinerary pointed out to me? (Shaking my head!) The Church certainly knows how to give a wonderful guided tour!

~*~*~*~*~
Thanks be to God!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Peace on Earth


Here it is the 3rd Sunday of Advent! God has blessed me in so many ways. Yesterday another birthday came and went. In gratitude, I thank God for my health, family, friends and the opportunity to live another day in His love. Today, I am still praying for peace on this HIS earth. So this I offer to you as it was offered to me and the members of St. John the Baptist Church of Newburgh.


LITANY OF NON-VIOLENCE

Provident God, aware of my own brokenness,
I ask the gift of courage to identify how and where
I am in need of conversion in order to live in
solidarity with all Earth's people.
*
Deliver me from the violence of superiority and disdain..
Grant me the desire, and the humility, to listen
with
special care to those whose experiences
and attitudes are different from my own.
*
Deliver me from the violence of greed and privilege.
Grant me the desire, and the will, to live
simply
so other may have their just share of the Earth's resources.
*
Deliver me from the silence that gives consent
to abuse, war, and evil.

Grant me the desire, and courage, to risk speaking
and acting for the common good.
*
Deliver me from the violence of irreverence,
exploitation and control.
Grant me the desire, and the strength, to act
responsibly within the cycle of
creation..
*
God of love, mercy and justice,
Acknowledging my complicity in those attitudes,
actions and words which perpetuate violence,
I beg the grace of a non-violent heart.
*
Amen
*
Sisters of Providence

St. Mary-of-the-Woods,
Terre Haute, Indiana

~~~~~~~
Because of His abundance of graces given
to me at all time, I say, "Thanks be to God!"

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tthe Littlest Angel


***
Of all the stories I cherish from my childhood, the story of the Littlest Angel is by far my favorite. My godmother, Aunt Rosemary, gave me the story on record, narrated by Loretta Young. And I had as much anticipation waiting for the time when I could listen to it as I did in anticipation of Christmas.

...On the day of the miracle, the Littlest Angel proudly placed his small box before the throne of God. The littlest Angel trembled as the box was opened. There was a butterfly with golden wings, a sky-blue egg from a bird's nest, two white stones from a river bank, and a strap from the collar of his dog. The voice of God spoke, "of all the gifts this small box pleases me most. I accept this gift in the name of the Child Jesus born this night in Bethlehem." The box began to glow. It rose until it hung over the stable where the Son of God had just been born. The box would forever be known as the "the shining star of Bethlehem.


So you see I knew there was hope for me. For as children we want to know we can please God. The validation came to me in this story. Whatever I did, no matter how plain, it would please God. How is it we forget that when we "grow" up?

>*< >*< >*<
Every breath of air and ray of light and heat,
every beautiful prospect, is, as it were,
the skirts of their garments, the weaving of
the robes of those whose faces see God.
John Henry Newman
~~~~~~~

Thanks be to God!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

New Awakening

As I awoke this morning I realized I was saying the Our Father. Not too hard to understand. A lot of people awaken saying the Our Father in the morning as a matter of course just as I did. But this morning I had a New Awakening. I was struck by the fact that THIS day I said "Thy will be done!" I can only surmise that the excerpt from Contemplation Haven, Asylum for Your Refugee Soul made a real impact on me yesterday. She shared a wonderful excerpt by Hans Urs von Balthasar called Maybe Tomorrow. Wow! It must have had more of an impression on me than I thought!!! TODAY I hear myself saying, "Thy will be done" now...not tomorrow...today! I'm really going to TRY today!!!

~~~~~~~

Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wisdom of G.K. Chesterton

Though my birthday is still a few days away I received the most wonderful book of reflections from my dear friend, Martha. (You might remember her from my entry on friendship in May this year). I have always love G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown Mysteries. Now, I am so delighted with this gift that I have to share today's reflection with you from the "Wisdom of G.K. Chesterton".

Levity and Levitation

Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly. This has always been the instinct of Christendom, and especially the instinct of Christian art. Remember how Fra Angelico represented all his angels, not only as birds, bu almost as butterflies. Remember how the most earnest medieval art was full of light and fluttering draperies, of quick and capering feet...In the old Christian pictures the sky over every figure is like a blue or gold parachute. Every figure seems ready to fly up and float about in the heavens. The tattered cloak of the beggar will bear him up like the rayed plumes of the angels. But the kings in their heavy gold and the proud in their robes of purple will all of their nature sink downward, for pride cannot rise to levity or levitation. Pride is the downward drag of all things into an easy solemnity. One "settles down" into a sort of selfish seriousness; but one has to rise to a gay self-forgetfulness. A man "falls" into a brown study; he reaches up at a blue sky. (ORTHODOXY)

REVIVE THE SPIRIT
For thus says the high and lofty one
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Isaiah 57:15

PRAYER
Holy God, bear us upward toward you. Make our spirits
lighter, more joyful. Teach us how to live without fretting,
without the anxieties that so often obscure our view
of you in your high and holy place, that heaven which is
our true home.

ADVENT ACTION
If you live near an art museum, plan a day trip there and spend an hour or more
in the medieval section. if not, find art books at a local library or search the internet
for images of great art. As you look at the painting, consider what Chesterton
says about the lightness, the "gay self-forgetfulness" of some of the figures. Try
to appreciate the art while also opening yourself to it as a mode for devotion.
~~~~~~~

I hope you find this to be a source of reflection you might find as useful and uplifting as I have found it to be. Gee, aren't birthdays grand!!!

~~~~~~~
Thanks be to God!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Cards


A co-worker several years ago told me she never sent Christmas cards because they were a waste of time and money. "No one keeps them," she said. "They just throw them away." Well, I had to agree that she might have been right about that.

But I had a wonderful teacher when it came to the "art" of Christmas cards. My dad's cousin, Pat, would SHOP every year for her Christmas cards. It was with loving tenderness and with great care she sought the card she was going to send each year. I remember going shopping with her once. I asked her what she looked for in a Christmas card and she said that it had to have a certain beauty that struck her as being really Christmas. "But why?" I asked. She told me she always wanted the card to be a real gift, not just a piece of paper that was sent in the mail. She said that with each card she addressed and signed she said a prayer for the friend or family. And at least once a year she had remembered them personally in her prayers, her gift to them. Well, that bowled that teenager over...

Ever since, I have tried to remember the lesson Pat taught me that Saturday so many years ago. When I work on the Christmas cards they are a labor of love, one in which I take a great deal of pleasure! I treasure this time with my family and friends and share that little prayer for them as Pat did. That's my Christmas card tradition and I love it.

I hope you love to send Christmas cards as I do. For this card is for All who visit here. God Bless you this Holy Season of Christmas.

*******

And Thanks Be to God!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Feast of the Immaculate Conception


It is so amazing and awe inspiring to witness again how the Spirit has moved the Church Fathers in the instruction of the People of God. I cannot tell you how the reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians really touch my heart and soul this morning at Mass. While proclaiming the Word I was struck by the eloquence of Saint Paul and how on this Holy Feast we are truly drawn securely into the Family of God. This reading is so appropriate and is a reminder of our connection to our Blessed Mother through her son Jesus. I am destined to be holy.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundations of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3-6: 11-12)


<*?<*><*>

Thanks be to God, again!!!

Friday, December 07, 2007

I Have Always Loved Playing Tag...

This has been a pretty important week for me! I feel really special. I haven't felt so important since Marianne played basketball in high school and people would come up to me and say, "You're Marianne's mother, aren't you? SHE's a very good basketball player." It is really thrilling for me to open this blog and see a comment. I get as excited as a little kid.So to receive the Emmanuel Award and then being tagged for the MEME is quite a treat...


(Picture by Mary Engelbreit)

~~~~~~~



HERE GOES:
  1. I love to play Scrabble especially with the grand kids. My mom always said it is the best way to learn to spell, learn your vocabulary, and have fun at the same time.
  2. I can be a poor sport and poor looser (but not at Scrabble) when it comes to watching Denver Bronco football. These roots are deep.
  3. Sometimes I play solitaire. That's my remedy for avoiding poor sportsmanship when the Broncos are playing.
  4. I was scared to death of dogs as a child. Now I have two.
  5. I am dyslexic when it comes to numbers. (eg. I weighed a patient today whose weight was 232 lbs, and in the computer he weighed 323 lbs. when I got through.) Luckily I have a boss with a good sense of humor and patients who know me pretty well.
  6. I graduated from St. Mary-of-the-Woods college in 1994 with a degree in gerontology at the age of 48. (To which my husband remarked, "At your age, you will be in the forefront of your field.)
  7. When I was in college, three of my children were in college at the same time.
  8. I find the greatest joy in waking in the morning knowing that I start it with a clean slate and at the end of the day see how much chalk dust there is on the eraser. Some days are better than other.
And one for good measure...I love a good cup of hot tea.

Now my journey begins to "tag" others...hoping they have not already been tagged.

~*~*~*~
Good evening to all and Thanks Be To God!!!!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

St. Nicholas Church, North Walsham, England, 2005


I believe the feast of St. Nicholas has been celebrated more as my children grew up than when I was growing up. Pre-Vatican II children really did not celebrate anything during Advent. At least in my family, Advent was a somber time of preparation for the celebration of the Feast of Christmas. Aside from the Advent wreath, the decorations for Christmas and gifts under the tree were not a visible in our house until after the 15th of December. So at that time the tree didn't go up until after my birthday.

Since then St. Nicholas has been celebrated by the parochial schools and in religious education classes by the visit of THE St. Nicholas who shares his story with the children.

And so it is that I offer you on this day of celebration these TWO reflections (I couldn't decide which to choose).

"The Giver of every good and perfect gift has called up us to mimic his giving, bu grace through faith, and this is not of ourselves" (St. Nicholas). IT begins by giving ourselves over to Christ's words and the Father's will. By such trust we build a house founded on the eternal Rock who is the Lord that can withstand every threat and assault. The Rock we imitate is the "strong city" we become."
Magnificat, December , 2007

~~~~~~

The next is and offering by Amy Welborn for A Catholic Woman's Book of Days.

"But when you give alms, do not let our left hand
know what your right hand is doing, so that
your alms, may be done in secret, and your Father
who sees in secret will reward you."
~Matthew 6:3-4~

There are countless stories and legends about the deeds of St. Nicholas, a bishop of Myra, in what's now Turkey, back in the fourth century.

I suppose the most well-known is that of the dowry. A man was too poor to provide dowries for his daughters, so Bishop Nicholas found ways to get the needed funds to the family, in secret. The thing I like about the story is that Nicholas was so determined to be anonymous in his giving that for the last daughter, he supposedly dropped the bag of cash down the chimney.

It gives me something to think about. In this season of gift giving, is my heart truly centered on others or do I five in order to impress?

***
Loving God, I pray for a spirit of humble generosity
as I share the blessing you have showered on me.

~~~~~

Here is my challenge. It is easy to be reminded to give to the needy during this Holy Season as it is when we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord. We are "joyful" givers at these time. I would ask that you consider finding a charitable organization to which you can give charitably all year, aside from the gifts you already offer to your church. Offer to send a donation to a seminary for the support of a seminarian. Give monthly to the local food pantry. Offer your services as a volunteer. Pray that the Spirit Guide you in the endeavor. Remember, we are all the Family of God! And the Family needs help All Year long.

~~~~~~
And for these opportunities to serve I say,
Thanks be To God!




Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Washing Dishes...


The other night Ron and I were privileged to help serve dinner to a group of people at church. It was a special occasion of some kind. Don't know what it was for, and that is not important. What struck me about the evening was the joy I felt being with the people who were serving as well. While helping to wash the dishes (for 50 people) I was reminded of those times I was closest to my family. Those times were when we were doing the mundane, seemingly unglamorous tasks.

Every year at this time I take a great deal of pleasure in remembering family gatherings in which the most important time for me as a "female" child was to be allowed to help clear the dishes and help wash them with the Aunt and my mother. Why? Because I could hear all those wonderful tales of other family gatherings that they could weave, I'm sure embellish, (which I have NEVER been prone to do) about their childhoods and the memories they shared of past gatherings.

I learned in serving the rewards are great...even if your hands become as prunes or the dish towel is so wet is has little value in drying. The value is in the giving and the treasure you give is the one of self.

~*~*~*~*~
For family and friends and the privilege of serving I say,
"Thanks be to God."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Emmanuel Award

Marie and Ginny at A View From the Pews have designed a new award honoring our fellow bloggers who share the true Christmas spirit. I am so honored to have been nominated for this award by Lisa at Are We There Yet, a favorite of mine because it offers such a variety of insights in this Christ filled family. To her I say thank you for the privilege of having been nominated for this award. And in the tradition of passing on the "baton", I'd like to nominate: Veritas at Prayer, Poetry and Praise. Her ability to write with tenderness and joy, and her obvious love of God has been a tremendous gift to me and has offered many reflective moments that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to pursue. Advent is a time of reflection, and she offers us just that! God Bless!

Marie and Ginny's explanation:

Emmanuel Award"God With Us"

In a consumer society it is a blessing to read blogs where the writer's main focus is God. Where they express their love for their faith so visibly and joyfully.

In a cynical world it is refreshing to see so many blogs which are generous, giving, who care about others and demonstrate what being a Christian is about, loving God and loving our neighbor.

Through their faith, lives and spirituality, they bring God to us, they in essence make God visible, 'God with us.'

This Award goes to all the faith filled blogs who make evident 'Emmanuel'- God with us, with Joy in their hearts.

Please share this Award with Christian blogs that focus on the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior.
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And for all of you I say, "Thanks be to God!!"



Sunday, December 02, 2007

"Awaiting the Presence of Our Maker"

This reflections was written by Venerable John Henry Newman. He established the Oratory in Birmingham, England and was an eloquent preacher. It was published the this month's Magnificat.

There is another reason why God alone is happiness of our souls, to which I wish to direct attention. The contemplation of him, and nothing but it, is able fully to open and relieve the mind, to unlock, occupy, and fix our affections. We may indeed love things created with great intenseness, but such affection, when disjoined from the love of the Creator, is like a stream running in a narrow channel, impetuous, vehement, turbid. The heart runs out, as it were, only at one door; it is not an expanding of the whole man. Created natures cannot open us, or elicit the ten thousand senses which belong to us, and through which we really live. None but the presence of our Maker can enter us; for to none besides can the whole heart in all its thought and feelings be unlocked and subjected. "Behold," he says, "I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him,and him with me." "God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and your hearts." "God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things." It is this feeling of simple and absolute confidence and communion which soothes and satisfies those to whom it is vouchsafed.

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I have to remind myself all the time...endlessly, that I have to be quiet so I can "hear the knock" at the door. I fear that I might miss it. But with instruction from those like Venerable John Henry Newman, I just might be awake and alert when it counts.

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Thanks be to God